Saturday afternoon sees Liverpool host Everton in the Merseyside derby; Everton are quietly approaching the leading pack, whilst Liverpool continue to stutter.
Here’s a combined XI.
Maarten Stekelenburg – GK
Liverpool’s goalkeeping woes have not gone away this season: it is a problem Jurgen Klopp needs to address urgently.
However, for Everton, Stekelenburg cuts a reliable and consistent figure between the sticks.
Nathaniel Clyne – RB
Seamus Coleman would have got the nod had he not suffered a leg-break after a reckless challenge from Neil Taylor when on duty for the Republic of Ireland.
Clyne, though, is a good replacement – lightning quick with a genuine football brain, he is a competent right-back.
Ashley Williams – CB
Calm, composed and assured, Williams is a natural leader.
Joel Matip – CB
Imposing yet athletic, Matip’s defensive solidity complements the continental style Williams adopts when in possession.
James Milner – LB
Credit to Milner’s extreme versatility, there are few left-backs in Premier League football better than him.
Idrissa Gueye – CM
Energetic, combative, but capable of picking a pass, Gueye is shaping up to be one of the signings of the summer.
Jordan Henderson – CM
Underrated at what he does, Henderson is central to Liverpool’s play; assuming the role of discipline, Henderson provides a platform from which he more creative peers can flourish.
Sadio Mane – RAM
Perhaps one of the most obvious choices, Mane is intrinsic to Liverpool’s attacking play and his pace, flair and composure mean he is Liverpool’s best player this season: that much was obvious as Liverpool capitulated in his absence during the African Cup of Nations.
Philippe Coutinho – CAM
Far too inconsistent to be considered world-class, Coutinho still has a lot to learn.
Reported to be close to signing Barcelona in the summer, Coutinho clearly has the potential to enter the elite of world football.
He could win the game for Liverpool with a moment of pure magic, but he could be anonymous.
Adam Lallana – LAM
Lallana has experienced a mini-renaissance under Jurgen Klopp and has become pivotal not only to Liverpool, but also to the national side – England.
Romelu Lukaku – ST
One of the best strikers in the Premier League, his consistency is startling.
If Lukaku wants his big move, however, he needs to learn how to win games on his own: his physical dominance coupled with his deft finishing mean he has the attributes to do so, but just needs to realise this potential.
Written by Michael Jones
Follow Michael on Twitter @jonesmichael_97
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